Essay about David Hume on Miracles

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Hume’s empiricist ideology clearly informed his position on the topic of miracles. In the following, I will examine Hume’s take on empiricism. From this it will be possible to deduce how Hume’s empiricism played a prominent role in influencing his belief on miracles. First, what were the principles of Hume’s empiricism? Hume claims that everyone is born with a blank slate (tabula rasa). The tabula rasa receives impressions which are products of immediate experience. For example, the color of the computer screen I am looking at represents an impression. Ideas, similarly, are derived from these antecedent impressions; we are not born with innate ideas, rather we achieve them from experience. There are three principles that connect ideas: …show more content…
However, he does not claim that they are impossible, just improbable. Therefore we are able to conclude Hume does accept the possibility of miracles, but would examine them with scrutiny.
So, how does Hume’s empiricism relate to miracles? As previously mentioned, Hume contends that there exist uniform laws of nature. These laws are derived from uniform experience. A miracle, on the other hand, provides a contradiction to the uniform experience. Hume notes, however, that laws do not guarantee conformity, leaving the possibility of miracles. Hume also says that if you do accept these laws then you are not rational, therefore you are an empiricist. Furthermore, if you do not believe these laws necessitate future conformity, then you are not rational because our beliefs about future events are a result of prior experiences; you are in essence a fool or a madman. Also, if these laws appear to be broken then a rational person would not believe in them, therefore these laws are not true laws of nature and should not be accepted as such. Thus, a miracle, though possible, is improbable. Hume elaborates by saying, “a uniform experience amounts to a proof, there is here a direct and full proof, from the nature of the fact, against the existence of any miracle; nor can such a proof be destroyed, or the miracle rendered credible” (Hume, 392). Hume uses

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